There are four rules of gun safety that should always be followed whether that is at the range or in your home. As we will take you through the 4 Fundamental Rules of Gun Safety, it is important to establish a knowledgeable foundation and respect whenever you’re handling a firearm. The following four rules for gun safety are intended as a baseline when you are using and storing your Beretta handguns or shotguns. If you are using firearms in the presence of new shooters, children, or those with no previous experience with firearms, gun safety must always be practiced with care, and safety is at the forefront of your mind.
RULE No. ONE: Always Treat All Guns as If They are Loaded
Responsible gun owners should always consider a firearm to be loaded and make sure that they are unloaded before handling their firearm. When you treat all guns as if they are loaded, you develop a proper knowledge base and respect for the gun. Your firearm should be loaded only when you are at the range or in the field hunting. Whenever you begin to manipulate a firearm or are in the presence of someone handling a gun, always ensure the chamber and action is EMPTY if it is a shotgun and the chamber and barrel of your handgun is clear, and the magazine has been removed until you are ready to shoot. Remember, never assume the firearm you are using has been cleared of ammunition.
RULE No. TWO: Always Keep the Firearm Pointed In a Safe Direction
Whenever you are handling a firearm always point your barrel in a safe direction. Never point the barrel of a loaded or unloaded gun at anything you do not have intent to shoot. This baseline rule is especially important to follow when you are introducing new shooters to the shooting sports when you are loading and unloading your gun, or when preparing to clean your gun in the event there is an accidental discharge, there is no risk of injury as the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction.
When a “safe direction” is referenced what do we mean? When basic gun safety is taught, a safe direction means a direction in which a bullet cannot strike and harm anyone (please note, this includes factoring in any potential ricochets), and the penetration of targets, walls, and ceilings, too. Ensure you make it a gun handling habit that always knows where your muzzle is always pointed. You are in control of your firearm. The responsibility of your gun is yours. Do not forget to wear protective shooting gear to preserve your hearing and eyesight.
RULE No. THREE: Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until You are Ready To Shoot
Never take your finger off the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot if you are at the range and the RSO (Range Safety Officer) has called the range “hot.” Until you intend to shoot, don’t disengage your firearm’s safety, never pull or manipulate the trigger, and keep your fingers off the trigger of your handgun or shotgun when you are loading or unloading. Ensure that your safety is engaged, and your finger does not come in contact with the trigger until you are prepared and ready to shoot your intended target.
RULE No. FOUR: Always Be Sure of Your Target and What is Beyond It
Don’t fire your gun unless you know what is beyond the intended target and what your round will strike on impact. As the individual handling a firearm, you are responsible for what each round comes in contact with, no matter your location. Always consider your surroundings prior to disengaging the safety of your gun and placing your finger on the trigger. Be aware of the height and width of your target if you are shooting paper, cardboard, or metal targets at the range; as well as the nature of the cartridge you are shooting. Rifle bullets are especially prone to this due to their high velocity and are dangerous to use on steel targets within a minimum safe distance (Consult your target manufacturer guidelines for specific minimum safe distance).
Creating safe gun practices early and often ensures you, your loved ones, and friends are establishing safe gun habits when handling a firearm. These practices are upheld and followed whether you’re at the range, hunting, or when in your home. To learn more about firearm safety and how you can educate yourself and others, visit the NSSF for more information about gun safety.